I just discovered The Spoony’s Final Fantasy VIII review from back in 2007. I hadn’t seen this one yet and was happy to be able to retread my steps in the game through the commentary, rewatch my favourite cutscenes, and get some of that nostalgic/romantic feeling that actually made me play this game about three times. Oh boy, what a wake-up call.
Because, yes, I actually loved it. Seriously. I owned the PC version (6 CDs, bitches!) and even bought the official game guide to cash in on all the secrets. I was obsessed. I wasn’t really a particularly good player: some of the ways Spoony mentions in his review to speed up battles and make bosses easy to beat never occurred to me. And I even vaguely remember that the first time I played, I cheated just to get through the story quicker. The second time I played I got ambitious – no cheats, all secrets – and the third time years later was just for nostalgia. Man, I spent a lot of time on this game.
Now many people, as I now know, have criticised the gameplay, but I don’t even think that was so bad. I had fun messing around with the spells and GFs, I don’t know why. But the main reason that made me come back again and again was still the romance. So here’s my confession: I cried during the end credits. I did. I know there’s no reason to, and I now realise how spectacularly weird the plot is, but I thought it was touching.
So now, the most confusing thing is, that I do now fully accept that the plot was stupid and random, the characters that mattered were never fully developed, and the game was basically just too long. But I still get a good feeling from it. I could watch the dancing parade for Edea a thousand times and still adore the music and the timing; I felt suspense during the whole Rinoa/Adell plot; I rooted for the emo/dependant girl romance in the conveniently placed spaceship.
The only excuse I have: I was a hormonal, nerdy, teenage girl, wildly mesmerised by anything that had only an inkling of romance in it. Seriously, if anyone ever mentions how blissful and great being a teenager was, I’ll punch them.